67. TWP SPECIAL: A PRINCIPAL’S WARNING TO TWP, A “NON-INTERVIEW” INTERVIEW, EDITORIAL: “ON/OFF” & R.C. pt. XII

MEMO TO ALL: I (Renee) was a little disappointed that in all the responses as to my challenge last week, NO one got both questions correct! Only a couple figured out that Tennessee Technological University was the team playing Georgia in football a week ago. As to the name of the “guest contributor”, her name is Mandy of A TEACHER TAKES A STAND who I met last Spring because of this blog.

Dear Readers: Recently, our blog has received attention from the anti-c.p. zealots on a blogradio show called “Public School Spanking 101”. We at TWP do not have a problem with criticism of our views and/or school c.p. policy in general. “Give and Take” is what our blog is all about.

But we draw the line on personal attacks and name-calling. Suggesting that Michelle, one of our contributors, is “sexually molesting” a child when she paddles the same according to school policy (and rather mildly at that) is not just wrong, it is immoral. And to label the entire population of states who allow c.p. in public schools as RACIST is both idiotic and stupid.

However, we received an interesting critique of the so-called interview from Prof. N. across the “pond” in the U.K. We decided to share some of his observations below with our own thoughts as well.

A “NON-INTERVIEW” INTERVIEW

by Prof. N. & TWP

They didn’t read your answers out verbatim – the absolute minimum-, but commented on each line , or phrase. An average listener wouldn’t get a shred of information …..I blame Paula if she teaches college she should know better.

It certainly was a strange “interview”. If one is going to give even a “skewed” analysis, then the original source (TEACHERSWHOPADDLE) must be QUOTED accurately. At least, that is what I learned in college. Makes you wonder about Paula’s education background.

Jestin is just her puppet, Yes Ma’am no Ma’am tell me what to say next Ma’am….oh and what a wonderful idea Ma’am. !!! Watch out Paula, it could be puppy love- hope YOU’VE got a strategy?

(Giggle) I couldn’t resist posting that point. Hint to Paula: You may want to be extra careful when working with your comrade -Boys WILL be boys! Take it from us -We have been teaching in REAL classrooms long enough to know the hazards.

In (my dictionary), it says , inter alia…..to publish THEIR statements, – not your comments on it – geddit :OK!

While one cannot physically “publish” statements on a blogradio program, one can quote statements from others. Paula and Jestin did NOT and deserve an “F” for “Foundations of Public Speaking 101”.

And TWP’s own comment: If you are going to have a blogradio talk show, you NEED to have both sides present their views -Otherwise, no one will take you seriously.

Anyone who watches cable t.v. news channels knows that on ANY issue, the host has both sides represented for a “back and forth””give and take” debate. Anything short of that is for cowards and in the case of the “Paula and Jestin show”; makes the antis look as though they are afraid of a debate.

RENEE MEETS MANDY (AGAIN)

On Friday night before the Tech-Georgia game, Mandy and her husband met with John and I for dinner in Athens, Georgia. Mandy is a Tennessee Tech alumnus who was going to the game against Georgia. She and I are avid outdoors types as well as teachers. Mandy is “one up” on me as to outdoors hiking/camping though -My beloved John had to be dragged to our Fall Creek Falls State Park camping trip last April. Mandy and her hubby both spend a lot more time hiking/camping.

Maybe I need to hide the t.v. remote from my hubby on pretty weekends. Hummmmm.

Well, I was able to show off the U.G.A. campus to Mandy, returning the courtesy Tech tour she gave me in our first meeting. Of course, we parted company for the game (which Georgia won) but still maintain our friendship irregardless of the final score.

TWP SPECIAL: A PRINCIPAL’S WARNING TO TWP

Hello TWP:

My name is Kathy and I am a 3 year principal at a small rural district much like TWP’s. I came across your blog by accident and had to read some of your posts twice because they could have been written by me! Like you, Renee; I came into the education profession as an idealist who wanted to “save the world” and found out the hard way that the “ideal classroom” does not exist.

My story is not unlike yours or others who enter the world of teaching. I was a good student throughout school and enrolled in a large state university in my home state. It was there that I chose to go into the teaching field and graduated with a B.S. in elementary/early childhood education. Getting that first teaching job was difficult and I ended up in a small rural district that paid the minimum salary for 1st year teachers. I had wanted to teach in my larger hometown where I grew up but there were no openings. However, the county district where I was hired turned out to be a close knit and teacher supportive community. So much that I decided to stay there and was married a few years after my hire. I am also raising a family here as well.

Just as you did, I decided on education administration as a career path and received my M.S. degree after about 9 years of summer graduate school. I must have a good sense of timing because the county was growing some in population and needed a principal for the new elementary school built for the increase in student numbers.

I had only one year as an intern assistant principal at the high school and if you think middle school is rough; try working with older students. I agree that c.p. is NOT a good idea for older students but only because, at ages15 to 18, it is just too late to modify serious behavior problems at that age. Do understand, I have no problem with c.p. in elementary schools for extreme behavior such as bullying, stealing, vulgarity, etc. and I had used my paddle as a teacher rarely and only after warnings.

So I knew and understood that in our district, I would be called on to administer paddlings more frequently as a principal than as a teacher. But neither job was sought by me so I could paddle ANYONE. I really believed that I could make a positive contribution to the lives of students. In fact, my most rewarding experience was seeing my first students graduate from high school eight years after I had first taught them in my 4th grade class. And for those “anti” crazies -The two that I paddled my first year both graduated!

My first day as principal of the new elementary school was an exciting day for me; personally as much as professionally. I would have been less upbeat had I know how one parent felt towards me. Here I was, cheerful and dressed my best while greeting all the children as they got off the bus or were dropped off by parents.

Then, a man about my age I reckon because his little boy looked to be about my boy’s age (6 years) walked up to me. He gripped his boy’s right hand while pulling the child along. Being a mom myself, I can tell when a child is shy and nervous so I started to give a friendly greeting but the father of the boy spoke first.

“Are you the principal of …. elementary school?” he asked in a gruff tone.

“Yes, I am the principal here…My name is Mrs. ….; welcome to …. elementary school -The newest school in the county,” I pleasantly replied while extending my right hand in greetings.

The father did not attempt to shake hands at all but rather, bent down and looked at his son eye to eye.

“Billy, remember what I told you…(Pointing at me) This is a ‘PRINCIPAL’ and if you do not do exactly what you are told to do…She will beat you black and blue!…Do you hear me, son!” he warned.

The little boy was almost in tears as he said,”Yes, daddy yes, I be good!…I promise…” The little boy looked at me fearfully and I thought my heart would break. I was stunned and speechless.

The father told his boy good-bye as the tyke dashed into the building before I could say a word.

I was so numbed and shook up, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I was speechless and at a loss for words as this so-called father walked away and got in his truck to leave. I am clueless as to HIS issues but I was not going to let him define me.

I figured out later which class the boy was in and when his lunch time was. As he was lined up with his classmates in the hallway, I spotted him and pulled him over to the side. He had a pure look of horror on his face but I sought to reassure him.

“Hello…your name is Billy,…right?” I pleasantly asked.

When he said yes, I replied,”I’m a mom and have a boy that is just one year younger than you.” (Who knows; maybe the poor child had been told principals eat little children too!)

Billy seemed to calm down some and I then explained to him that his father was very wrong on what he said that morning and that Billy had nothing to fear from me. He started to grin a little as I added,”You do have to be nice to your classmates and teacher, o.k.?…Because if you are mean, you will be in trouble…And I don’t want that…Understand me?”

Billy smiled and said,”Yes, Mrs. …., I’ll be good!”

[ then walked him to the cafeteria line where his class was already getting an all-time American favorite: “Sloppy Joes” and “Tatter Tots”.

I wish I could tell you that my “Upside-Down” first morning was the last of my troubles but it was not. I never had trouble with Billy but as a principal, I bore the burden of being the major disciplinarian. And like TWP, I decided that school c.p. had to be “Judicious”,”Moderate”, and “Rare”. Unlike in TWP, I chose to do all the paddling myself because of my perception that some of the teachers were way too quick to paddle. I emphasized “rare” and “last resort” -And then backed up my words by confiscating all of the paddles that the teachers brought into the new building.

As for myself, I made an extra effort to use the paddle rarely and resorted to it only a couple of times that first month for serious incidents (bullying and hitting). I actually got a reputation from a few teachers as a “soft disciplinarian”! And both paddlings were deemed “mild” by my witness who had been a school system secretary for many years.

But all that would change two months into the school year.

Andy was a hyper-kinetic 3rd grade boy who I had warned on several occasions to not run in the halls. One morning, Andy did worse: He violated the district’s school bus conduct policy. Specifically, he was out of his seat while the bus was moving -A dangerous and major violation . Actually, he did so more than once after being warned by the driver. When Andy was turned in to the office by the driver, I had two choices: suspension or the paddle.

Since the district discourages the suspension of elementary students and there was no opt out on Andy, I chose the paddle.

After securing a witness (secretary) and closing the doors to my office; I pulled out my paddle ( Similar to Renee’s oval paddle but 12″ long and about 3/8″ thick) as a worried looking Andy fretted.

“Andy, this is the last thing I want to do but you could have been seriously injured this morning!…I am only going to give you 3 swats…And then I will walk you to your class,” I implored.

Since my office is not arranged for the “wall brace position” due to furnishings, I use the OTK method. Being taller than average helps and I’ve had no problem using that method.

Three medium swats and it was over.

I told Andy,”I’ll let you wait a few minutes if you wish before we walk to your room, o.k…No hard feelings, Andy?”

He shook his head as I patted him on the head. After a couple of minutes, I escorted him to his classroom.

Case closed, right?

WRONG!

The next morning his mom showed up at my office. But I knew what to do and say -I had been a teacher and dealt with this same problem. The problem was always “overprotective” moms who could not imagine THEIR darling angels doing anything wrong.

But this was different.

Andy’s mom stated that she was aware that I was a mom too and indicated that c.p. was not the issue per se. Then she showed me a photo of her son’s bare bottom. Each cheek had a slight pink color but what caused me to nearly hit the floor was two penny sized bruises on the lower part of the right cheek.

“Oh my G…,” I gasped; covering my mouth with one hand.

“That is my problem, Mrs. …. and I want to know what you are going to do about it!” said Andy’s mom.

When I confirmed that Andy was in class, I immediately paged him to come to the office.

A scared Andy came into my office and I quickly reassured him,”No, Andy -You are NOT in trouble…But I need to talk to you.”

I went around my desk and knelt in front of Andy.

“Andy, I punished you yesterday for misbehaving on the bus…But I would NEVER intentionally bruise you!…You do understand me, don’t you?” I softly spoke while feeling a tear trying to escape one of my eyes.

Andy was just fine and promised me he’d behave on the bus “from now on”.

Sending him back to class, I turned and told his mom,”I will never paddle Andy again…As of this day forward, he will not be paddled in my school ever again!”

“That will not be necessary, Mrs. …. Because I see that you are sincere and what happened was unintended on your part,” Andy’s mom replied.

She explained to me that her concern was my intentions as to the use of the paddle. Seeing that I never intended to bruise her boy reassured her that I was not an abuser. I was relieved that she would not file a complaint and this situation had a positive outcome.

Renee, I wrote you to warn you about the “back pockets” problem that could have ended my career.

Whatever you do; it is extremely important for you to SEE the child check their back pockets BEFORE any use of a paddle. One “penny” could cause a lot of trouble!

Best Wishes,

Kathy

EDITORIAL: “ON/OFF”

If there ever was any doubt in the minds of TWP as to the wisdom of allowing professional politicians to write school discipline policies, a news article on the corpun.com website confirmed our misgivings. A few weeks ago, TWP commented on the State House Bill that passed that chamber in North Carolina which would create a state-wide “opt-out” for parents who do not wish their children paddled in school along with a parental notification requirement. We at TWP supported this measure believing that would avoid a more radical c.p. ban. Still, it is TWP’s position that this is an issue best left to individual school districts.

But lo -The professional politicos strike again. In corpun file #21429, The North Carolina State Senate voted down the House approved measure.

“Opponents like Democratic Sen. Doug Berger of Franklin County said the measure would effectively block corporal punishment statewide. Berger said no teacher would spank one child for an offense knowing another child could not be paddled for the same offense. Others argued that school districts should develop their own policies.”

Here is a “radical idea” from TWP. Why don’t we all agree to let locally elected school boards make school discipline policy and let those career politicians do whatever it is they normally do.

Hey, they’re doing enough damage ALREADY!

RENEE CHRONICLES pt. XII

Real Patriotism

This past week we in the U.S.A. celebrated Veterans Day which is the same as Armistice Day in Europe. Started to commemorate the end of World War I; today we give thanks to all our servicemen and women for their defense of our freedom. This segment is dedicated to them.

All three of my brothers were in the U.S. armed forces as was my father and dozens of relatives. As far as I am aware, my family has fought in every war the U.S. has been in back to at least to WW I. And a few paid the ultimate price.

Growing up, I heard “war stories” at family reunions but did not understand “Real Patriotism” as my daddy did. The following is his take on what “Real Patriotism” really is…and is not.

“Parade Patriotism”: “Everyone loves a parade…Especially politicians around election time. But when the parade is over, these same politicians suddenly disappear!”

“Real Patriotism”: When one actually serves in the defense of our country or at least visits a wounded serviceman in the hospital or contributes to the Wounded Warrior program.

“Lapel Pin Patriotism”: “Any moron can put on a lapel pin U.S. flag.”

“Real Patriotism”: “Anyone who works to make this country a better place regardless of what occupation you work in.”

“Political Patriotism”: “I despise any politician that uses the U.S. flag as a campaign backdrop! It is our NATION’S flag -Not a stage prop!”

“Real Patriotism”: Not only respecting the U.S. flag and what it stands for but remembering all of those who paid the ultimate price so that it could wave in the breeze…Over the land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

Couldn’t of said it better myself, daddy!

COMING NEXT: LESSONS FROM OHIO & LIKELY OUTCOMES,

WENDY’S FIRST PADDLING,

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE week 13

&

R.C. pt. XIII

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